Just for kicks, books by Kevins and Jesses are on sale this week, June 3-7, for $10.00 a piece, through the Kenning Editions website. That includes the very first “real” book we published, Jesse Seldess’ Who Opens, plus the follow-up, Left Having. Kevin Killian’s Stage Fright: Selected Plays from San Francisco Poets Theater and The Kenning Anthology of Poets Theater: 1945-1985 are in the mix, also, No kidding. Tell a friend. Good jokes spread by word of mouth.
Back in 2006 when it first came out, Kevin Killian wrote one of his infamous Amazon reviews of Who Opens this way:
Complicated inner rhymes like Frank Loesser lyrics, so that in the final poem, we’re hearing “Hand talking/ by past will/ Tend” and in another few lines we’re into “talking by/ and walking by/ By fast will/ Hand,” so that we have to keep up with the sense quicker and quicker, yet the music of the line acts like a carrot in front of the reluctant donkey of the brain. Is it a spurious music? The advertising matter, and a little note at the back of the book, informs us that this poem, “In Contact,” comes out of Seldess’ interaction (he says) with elderly people with Alzheimers and other memory diseases. (The promo copy uses the word “work,” as though Seldess had a job there among the old people, but the word “interaction” takes it away from the realm of the economic, and places him in a purer light, perhaps a sort of sounding board for people in trouble. And “interaction” implies a two way street more than “work,” as though they weren’t the only ones learning something, no, he was getting something too — besides a salary or hourly wage or whatever.) In any case the poem, “In Contact,” stands almost like one of the free-standing rock formations, all crevices and juts, down in Monument Valley, its very otherness isolating it from the world of ordinary poetry, and yet making a satisfying climax to the six poems that precede it, which all depend on the peculiar satisfactions of improvisation, like a jazzman playing a melody “straight no chaser” once, then going to town thereafter.